- - Wednesday, April 27, 2022

It is no secret Joe Biden declared a war on American energy on his first day in the Oval Office. From greenlighting Vladimir Putin‘s Nordstream II Pipeline and canceling the Keystone XL pipeline to embracing Green New Deal programs and pandering to the radical environmentalist left, his administration’s America-last policies transformed a formally energy independent, energy-exporting nation into a country in crisis.

Joe Biden‘s policies are costing American families an estimated $2,000 more per year in higher gas prices, and U.S. oil production has declined by more than 1.5 million barrels per day from peak production in 2020. This should come as no surprise since then-candidate Joe Biden promised to put an end to oil and gas production in the United States during his 2020 campaign. We now face the consequences of failed energy policy through skyrocketing prices at the gas pump and American energy jobs shipped overseas.

Biden attempts to cast blame on the “Putin Price Hike” to gaslight Americans on high gas prices and deflect blame from himself, although prices were already up over 50% on the day before Putin ever invaded Ukraine compared to when Biden was inaugurated. Make no mistake, higher prices are not largely the result of the war in Ukraine.

With midterm elections on the horizon, the Biden administration has rolled out surface-level solutions to artificially lower prices at the pump without addressing the root of the problem. But we know these short-term solutions are nothing more than a proverbial fig leaf to temporarily cover up the consequences of this administration’s self-sabotaging energy policy.

In March, the Biden administration announced it would release 180 million barrels, a million barrels a day for six months, the biggest release in history, from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to offset gas prices. Joe Biden tapping the oil reserves, set aside for national emergencies, will provide very limited, temporary relief from high gas prices while depleting our national reserves and failing to provide a permanent solution. This political stunt has been cheered by the same Democrats who begged President Trump not to fill the oil reserves when prices were at historic lows. When the SPR eventually runs out, where are we going to get more if Biden is successful in banning oil and gas production?

Most recently, the Biden administration announced it will resume oil and gas leasing on 144,000 acres of federal lands. To put this into perspective, this is two-thirds less land than the average during the Trump administration. While this is a small step in the right direction, it is a weak attempt by the Biden administration to save face and do the bare minimum to comply with a federal court order that ruled Biden‘s initial leasing ban was illegal. In doing this, the administration, in turn, is increasing royalty rates for the first time and imposing burdensome regulations to deter production.

Before companies can even drill, they must go through a long process of obtaining permits and jumping through regulatory hoops, oftentimes being sued by NGOs potentially funded by Putin along the way. Regulatory uncertainty and hostility to fossil fuels discourage investment. If the President promised repeatedly to phase out your industry, would you commit long-term investment and capital?

With these two instances alone, it is evident Joe Biden is not offering long-term solutions to the crisis he caused but a “quick fix” to bolster his political capital for the impending midterms in November.

The issue at hand is this: The United States is blessed with abundant natural resources but cursed with liberal politicians who refuse to allow Americans to benefit from them.

Considering Putin‘s energy-funded war on Ukraine, record-high inflation and gas prices, and the energy disaster in Europe, we have an opportunity to correct course. President Biden could reverse his energy restricting regulations and recognize that the United States leads the world in emission reduction and clean energy production. We can export American energy to our friends and allies across the globe instead of having them rely on dirty Russian gas.

Republicans in Congress have solutions that prioritize Americans, not Putin or left-wing special interests. House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Natural Resources Committee Republican Leader Bruce Westerman have introduced the bold American Energy Independence from Russia Act, which I proudly support. American energy dominance is our strongest defense against Putin and this bill recognizes that by approving the Keystone XL pipeline, unleashing U.S. LNG exports to boost natural gas production, restarting oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, and protecting energy and mineral development from attacks by the Biden administration.

Energy security brings both national security and economic security. Immediately unleashing American energy production and ending our reliance on our adversaries for energy is essential now more than ever.

I urge the president to work across the aisle with Republicans in Congress to increase domestic energy production instead of taking weak actions to avoid political responsibility for his self-imposed energy crisis. Instead of cheap political stunts aimed at creating the illusion that the administration is trying to alleviate high prices, it’s time Biden takes his feet off the neck of the oil and gas industry.

• U.S. Representative Jeff Duncan, South Carolina Republican, currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and Communications and Technology. He represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District and is the Co-Chair of the GOP’s House Energy Action Team, which supports expedited permitting of energy projects and the use of currently undeveloped areas for energy production in the U.S.

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